The other day Ricky and I went out for a posh meal in a swanky restaurant. We’re not normally in the habit of doing this – our style is more curry house than cordon bleu – but we’d decided to skip Christmas presents this year and treat ourselves to some fine dining instead.
I’m not going to name our destination – for reasons that will become obvious – but the meal was pretty swish. Tasty hot bread; an amuse bouche of velvety mushroom soup in a teeny tiny cup; ZOMG CRACKLING! belly pork (his) stuffed quail (mine) for starters; rather bizarrely deconstructed bouillabaise for his main course (i.e. bits of seafood balanced precariously on tiny turrets of potato), char-grilled salmon with a wobbly tower of what was allegedly lasagna for mine; salted caramel popcorn sorbet palate cleanser that I would kill to taste again; a selection of delicious chocolate desserts; and finally, a platter of perfectly ripe cheeses. Add on a bottle of nice wine, a couple of glasses of dessert wine and two espressos, and it was a wonderful meal.
And then came the bill. I’d been expecting it to be quite big, and it was. But something was amiss. I’d definitely ordered the cheapest glasses of dessert wine (£6.50), but we’d been billed for two glasses at £9.50 – an overcharge of £6 in total.
I started to grumble at Ricky about it, as I hate being ripped off. He pointed out that it was less than 5 per cent of the total bill, and that complaining about such a small amount would make me look like a moron and a cheapskate. In the end I decided not to say anything, but left with a bad grace and a cloud hanging over what had been a lovely evening. Needless to say, I won’t be going there again either.
Was I wrong not to complain? Was Ricky right to do the English thing and keep schtum? What would you have done? And what’s the best meal you’ve ever had?